Shorten faces the heat on housing affordability

Adam Smith 14 June 2016

housing affordabilityOpposition Leader Bill Shorten has been taken to task on housing affordability during an appearance on ABC’s Q&A.

Shorten drew applause from the Q&A audience for his response to an audience member’s grilling on rising house prices. Damian Damjanovski asked Shorten how he would help make the property market accessible to young people, saying it “has become impossible” for young people to afford a house in the city’s in which they live.

“But I’m asking about the fact that at the moment the average household in Sydney costs 12 to 14 times the annual income for people. It’s never been that high. I don’t think when you bought your house it was a factor of 12 to 14 times your annual income but for my generation that’s what it costs,” Damjanovski said.

Shorten referred to Labor’s plan to restrict negative gearing to newly-constructed properties, and claimed the plan would help first home buyers.

“My party is giving first-home buyers a chance to compete on a more level playing field so you can get your home. The dream of Australians is not the right to claim a tax deduction, the dream of Australia is making sure your kids can grow up and buy their own home,” Shorten said.

Shorten said the plan would see house prices grow at a more sustainable pace. He argued that negative gearing was also costing the government money.

“What I don’t believe is right is this nation — when you look at what we give in the form of tax concession, tax subsidy on negative gearing and capital gains tax discount — is spending more at the Commonwealth level on negative gearing and CGT discount than on childcare or higher education. What priority is that?”

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